ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Whitehall placekicker Joshua Cirocco’s cleats were pretty distinctive – a bright shade of blue on a sideline decked in maroon and gold. Cirocco explained he had played in a soccer game earlier Saturday and didn’t have time to get a different pair of cleats.
By the time the game clock at J. Birney Crum Stadium hit triple zeros, Allentown Central Catholic left Whitehall feeling rather blue. A completely different sort of blue.
The Vikings (6-0) harassed and pressured Villanova recruit Chris Polony all evening and chewed up 455 yards of offense en route to a 21-14 victory over the Zephyrs (5-1) Saturday evening in Allentown.
With the victory, Allentown Central Catholic put itself in the drivers seat to the Lehigh Valley Conference championship.
“They’re a very good football team,” Whitehall head coach Tony Trisciani said of ACC. “We gave ‘em everything we had. I didn’t talk to the kids about losing tonight – I talked to them about learning.”
Whitehall had a chance late to knot things at 21-all. The Zephyrs drove from their own 12 to the ACC 46 yard line with :28 left, but Polony’s third down pass was intercepted with 19 ticks left to seal the victory.
Polony started 2-of-2 for 77 yards, including a 66-yard scoring pass to Nate Hoenl for a 7-0 lead, but the Viking defense harassed #12 the rest of the game. He finished 11-of-31 for 143 yards and two interceptions.
“We relied on some pressure up front,” said Viking head coach Harold Fairclough.
But bringing pressure is a risk/reward type of strategy, and Whitehall beat the pressure to answer a 21-point run by the Vikings when Eric Fiore (15 rush, 114 yards, TD) scampered 65 yards down the home sideline to make it a 21-14 game.
“They caught us on a blitz there,” Fairclough said of the long scoring run. “And the first score (the long pass) was a blown coverage.”
Central Catholic junior quarterback Brendan Nosovitch said the first Zephyr touchdown woke the green and gold up.
“We kind of came out flat,” Nosovitch said.
But poked between the eyes, Central Catholic’s spread offense fired to life and revved its engines, primarily the engines of #2 (Colin McDermott), #4 (Kevin Gulyas) and #5 (Nosovitch).
Nosovitch had a hand in all three Viking touchdowns, helping ACC build a 21-7 lead with 3:54 left in the third quarter. He scored on runs of 2 and 3 yards and connected with Gulyas (12 rec., 168 yards, TD) on an 11-yard pass.
In all, Nosovitch ran for 81 yards on 25 carries and completed 20-of-28 passes for 230 yards.
And McDermott became the focal point of the Vikings’ offense in the second half. With only seven rushes for 28 yards to his credit at halftime, #2 finished the Saturday night tussle with 144 yards on 23 carries.
“They’re spread’s good,” Trisciani said of ACC. “And they have good players.
“Sometimes we got them and sometimes we didn’t,” Trisciani continued, “but we got them enough times to still have a chance to win the game.”
Tyler Artim finished with six catches for 57 yards for Whitehall, who finished with 264 yards of offense and 15 first downs.
But ACC was simply firing on all cylinders. The Vikes rushed for 225 yards and threw for 230 – finishing with 455 yards and 23 first downs. For the 2010 season thus far, ACC has been a model of near-perfect balance – throwing for 1,119 yards and running for 1,118.